Divorce Headaches: Your Children's Education May Be Adversely Affected By Your Divorce

Pretty much everyone realizes that divorce can be difficult for children. Some adapt to the changes better than others, naturally, and parents are often concerned about making sure that the kids get all the emotional support they need throughout the actual divorce and its aftermath. But what about educational support? It turns out that divorce may adversely affect some children's educational endeavors much worse than others -- but it may not be the kids you'd expect.

The Importance Of The Pre-Divorce Stability Of The Family 

According to a new study by sociologists at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), a family's relative stability prior to the actual divorce has a lot to do with whether or not the children from that family will go on to succeed academically.

The results of the study, however, were somewhat counterintuitive. That's because it turns out that the more cohesive the family unit seemed to be before the breakup -- and the more financially stable it was -- the worse the kids fared academically after their parents' divorce. In households where there was relatively little stability, including a lot of fighting between the parents and obvious financial problems, the children of divorce actually thrived academically.

High-Conflict Parental Relationships Are Damaging To The Kids

Essentially, the research came down to this: In families where "nobody expected a divorce" because the parents seemed to have everything under control, money was plentiful, the parents were well-educated themselves, and there were no obvious conflicts, the disruption caused by divorce seems to do more damage to the kids than anyone expected. It shows most clearly in their academic prospects. Those children were 6% less likely to even graduate from high school than their peers from households unaffected by divorce. They were also 15% less likely to make it through college. Those are some shocking statistics when you realize that those children still had economic advantages over poorer children.

In households where divorce was seen as almost inevitable because of financial stress, constant fighting between the parents and other problems, the children were virtually unaffected academically once their parents split. In many cases, children do better in life once their high-conflict parents split. In any case, they don't do any worse when it comes to their high school and college careers. 

Part of the results may be related to the fact that children living in stressful houses tend to already have lower academic success -- but this new study does give parents somewhat of a guide for how to handle their divorce, no matter what situation they're in. Parents in high-conflict marriages really need to get out of them for the sake of the children. Parents who are hiding the conflict need to start leveling with their kids as early as possible so that the shock doesn't derail their future success.

If you're in an unhappy marriage, a divorce attorney may be able to help. Contact one today for more information.

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